Daniel Alfredsson was standing in front of his locker room stall after Tuesday’s practice, saying again how much playing in the 2012 all-star game would mean to him.
About a half-hour later came news that he is indeed headed in the right direction.
In an early and strong show of support for their team, Senators fans had made Erik Karlsson, Alfredsson and Jason Spezza three of the top four vote-getters as the first official polling numbers were announced Tuesday.
And Milan Michalek’s not far behind.
Karlsson, whose 18 points have him tied for the league scoring lead among defencemen, has drawn the most love with 147,468 votes. Alfredsson is next in line with 131,774, while Spezza is fourth with 117,899.
If voting holds true to form, those three plus Toronto winger Phil Kessel (128,390 votes), Boston defenceman Zdeno Chara (110,098) and Bruins goalie Tim Thomas (95,681) will be the Eastern Conference’s starting six for the Jan. 29 showcase game at Scotiabank Place.
“It’d be special to be able to play,” said the 38-year-old Alfredsson, who has five goals and three assists in 15 games. “At the same time, we’ll see what happens, but I’d definitely love to be in.”
Not only should Alfredsson earn a spot on the team — whether it be by fan balloting or as an add-on — but it would be fitting for him to wear a captain’s ‘C’.
The suggestion made Alfredsson smile.
“At this stage of my career, I think you’d cherish that more than you would early in your career,” he said. “With everything, I’ve been able to stay here my whole career, now with the first all-star game here, it would be pretty sweet.”
While Alfredsson leads all forwards in voting, Kessel, the NHL’s leading scorer, is 3,384 behind him. Spezza is third among forwards, 9,562 votes ahead of Michalek, the Senators’ top goal scorer with 12.
“Erik’s been playing great,” Alfredsson said of Karlsson, who has one goal and 17 assists. “Spezza and Michalek, the same thing. I would vote for them for sure.”
After Michalek, a pair of Flyers and Blackhawks occupy spots 5-through-8 on the forwards list. Charging hard since his two-goal, two-assist return from a concussion is Pittsburgh’s Sidney Crosby, who has 74,528 votes while playing just one game this season.
On defence, Chara has a 2,056-vote lead on Detroit’s Nicklas Lidstrom. In seventh is Ottawa’s Sergei Gonchar, with 89,561 votes.
Pittsburgh’s Marc-Andre Fleury is giving Thomas the most competition out of the gate, but he still trails the 37-year-old Bruin by 7,581 votes.
Boston sophomore Tyler Seguin is the leader among write-in candidates with 41,443 votes.
(First polling results released by NHL)
ALFREDSSON ... 131,774
KESSEL ... 128,390
SPEZZA ... 117,899
MICHALEK ... 108,247
GIROUX ... 97,607
KARLSSON ... 147,468
CHARA ... 110,098
LIDSTROM ... 108,042
LETANG ... 105,741
PHANEUF ... 102,044
THOMAS ... 95,681
FLEURY ... 88,100
REIMER ... 73,158
RINNE ... 72,235
LUNDQVIST ... 65,441